Duterte threatens to withdraw Philippines from UN
Facing mounting criticism over the bloody war on drugs and crime that has engulfed the Philippines, embattled President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to pull Philippines out of the UN. In a fiery, profanity laced speech against the UN, Duterte said "Maybe we'll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations." He condemned the UN for criticising his approach toward ridding Philippines of drugs.
Strict drug laws in the Philippines
As is the case with most of the South East Asian countries, drug laws in Philippines are very harsh. The country's 'Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002' imposes the death penalty for drug-traffickers. There is an ongoing moratorium on the death penalty in the Philippines.
Rodrigo Duterte's presidency and 'War on Drugs'
Rodrigo Duterte got elected in a landslide victory as the Philippines President in May 2016, on the promise to 'eradicate' the drug menace. On his inauguration, he said illegal drugs was country's top problem and announced a 'War on Drugs'. Duterte or 'the Punisher' as he has come to be known as, even encouraged the citizens to kill the drug offenders themselves.
Around 700 killed in Philippines drug crackdown
Close to 700 suspects have been killed during Philippines crackdown on drugs, since Duterte's ascension to Presidency. This includes hundreds of vigilante killings. To put this into perspective, out of 316 suspected dealers killed between 1-27 July, 195 were killed by unidentified vigilantes. The President did not condemn any of them. Further, around 2,700 arrests have been made in relation to illegal drug activity.
Duterte's work against drugs before presidency
Before his Presidency, Duterte worked as a lawyer and was widely known for his crackdown on crime as the Mayor of Davao. Over 1,000 people were killed during the time. During his presidential campaign, he vowed to reinstate the death penalty.
Police killings supported by country's solicitor general
114,833 people who are either drug dealers or addicts turned themselves in before authorities, according to Philippines' national police logs. Amid mounting criticism over the extrajudicial killings by police and vigilantes, President Duterte found strong support in the country's top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida. Calida defended the legality of police killings and called for more such deaths of people involved in drug trade.
Human Rights groups decry extrajudicial killings
Human rights groups have appealed to the United Nations to condemn the government-supported extrajudicial killings in Philippines. Over 300 civil society groups like Human Rights Watch and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, sent joint signed letters to UN's office on Drugs and Crime and the International Narcotics Control Board. Civil society groups urged these drug control agencies to call for a halt on the killings.